Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

The premiere international & interdisciplinary professional organization for scholars, graduate students, independent researchers, and community members interested in all aspects of Indigenous Studies.

Jonathan Dewar is the Director of the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and Special Advisor to the President at Algoma University. From 2007 to 2012 he served as Director of Research and Evaluation at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and he is a past director of the Métis Centre at the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Jonathan is of mixed heritage, descended from Huron-Wendat, Scottish and French Canadian grandparents with an academic background in Aboriginal literatures and drama and Canadian and Indigenous Studies, with focuses on identity, (re)connection to culture and community, Indian Residential Schools and healing, and truth and reconciliation. Jonathan also served as the founding executive director of the Iqaluit, Nunavut-based Qaggiq Theatre Company from its inception in 2002 to 2006. While in Nunavut, Jonathan also served in senior roles with the Office of the Languages Commissioner of Nunavut and the Intergovernmental Affairs and Inuit Relations unit of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. A former SSHRC doctoral fellow, Jonathan is completing a doctorate in Canadian Studies at Carleton University. His research explores the role of art and artist in truth, healing, and reconciliation.

Recent publications include:

  • "Where Are the Children? and 'We Were So Far Away…': Exhibiting the Legacies of Indian Residential Schools, Healing, and Reconciliation" in Museum Transformations: Art, Culture, History (eds. Annie E. Coombes and Ruth Phillips for the International Handbook of Museum Studies series; Wiley-Blackwell);
  • "Traditional Indigenous Approaches to Healing and the Modern Welfare of Traditional Knowledge, Spirituality and Lands: A Critical Reflection on Practices and Policies taken from the Canadian Indigenous Example" (with Julian Robbins) in The International Indigenous Policy Journal: Vol. 2: Iss. 4;
  • "Creative Arts, Culture, and Healing: Building an Evidence Base" (with Linda Archibald) in Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Indigenous and Aboriginal Community Health 8:3; and
  • "Rights of Restoration: Aboriginal Peoples, Creative Arts, and Healing" (with Linda Archibald, Carrie Reid, and Vanessa Stevens) in The Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal 2:23.

He has also served as a co-editor of the following volumes:

  • Reconcile This! West Coast Line 74, vol. 46, no 2 (summer 2012);
  • "Speaking My Truth" Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential School (Aboriginal Healing Foundation: Ottawa, 2012);
  • Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation through the Lens of Cultural Diversity (Aboriginal Healing Foundation: Ottawa, 2011); and
  • Response, Responsibility, and Renewal: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Journey (Aboriginal Healing Foundation: Ottawa, 2009).

Statement – NAISA Council Member Candidacy

I am pleased to stand for election as a potential NAISA Council member.

I offer a variety of personal and professional experiences that I feel would serve NAISA and its membership well, particularly my work, both within and outside of the academy, representing the efforts of the Indian Residential Schools Survivor community to address the legacy of IRS and individual and collective efforts to promote and support healing; the role of the arts and artists in healing and language and culture reclamation and revitalization; education and public awareness initiatives concerning the lived and living experiences of Indigenous peoples; engagement in efforts to develop and disseminate knowledge related to efforts to decolonize and Indigenize the academy; and governance.

I also look forward to sharing the perspective of a small, mostly undergraduate, teaching-oriented, northern university with a special mission to "cultivate cross-cultural learning between aboriginal communities and other communities, in keeping with the history of Algoma University and its geographic site" – the former Shingwauk Indian Residential School – and its special relationship with the grassroots efforts of Survivors to share, heal, and learn.